OLD Media Moves

Cramer=Stock tips for suckers

March 23, 2006

Scott Collins, who writes the TV industry blog “Channel Island” for the Los Angeles Times, has unearthed a study by some Northwestern University students who say that “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer’s stock picks aren’t helping viewers.

JIm CramerCollins writes, “Essentially, the researchers argue in their March 15 report that the countless fools who rush to act on Cramer’s picks at the start of the next trading day pump up the volume and the price of the share in question, which after a few days will inevitably fall like raindrops in Hana. The only folks who make money are those trading sophisticates who ‘short’ Cramer’s picks — i.e., make bets that the stock price will fall. The short-sellers also get a good laugh. What’s more, information about a Cramer pick on ‘Mad Money’ seems to leak out before the 6 p.m. broadcast, so that ordinary traders are virtually guaranteed a higher-than-normal price at the next day’s opening bell.”

Collins also reports, “Asked for comment on the report, a CNBC spokesman complained of ‘huge holes and serious inaccuracies’ and then followed up with this statement, which Channel Island is running in its entirety:

“We welcome academic consideration of the impact of ‘Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer.’ However, while we have not had sufficient opportunity to review this paper fully, we noted several serious flaws.

“First of all, Kellogg has informed us that this is not a Kellogg-sanctioned paper. It is a ‘working paper’ and a posting from three students on a chat site.

“The writers seem completely unaware of or fail to take into consideration that during the time period they examined, Jim Cramer had a nationally-syndicated radio show, available in over 70 markets nationwide beginning at 2 p.m. ET and available globally on the Web at 4 p.m. ET every business day.

“Jim would often mention stocks on the radio show and in his columns throughout the day on TheStreet.com that could later be discussed on “Mad Money.”

“Additionally, Jim does not choose stocks in a vacuum — he, like other professional investors, reacts to various news in the marketplace, such as a good quarter, a mention in other media, an analyst upgrade or a settlement of a lawsuit.

“Most importantly, CNBC has instituted stringent policies and procedures designed to prevent the dissemination of the content of ‘Mad Money’ prior to broadcast.”

Read the Channel Island posting here.

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